Sharon Sweet, the Brevard Community College (Florida) math professor who allegedly forced her students to sign a pledge promising to vote in November 2012 for President Barack Obama and “Democrats up and down the ticket,” has been fired from her teaching position. Sweet had been placed on a paid suspension during the inquiry into her classroom behavior.
After a three-month investigation, BCC President Jim Richey announced in February that he was recommending to the school’s Board of Trustees that she be fired. Dr. Richey explained in a written statement that BCC policy prohibits electioneering during regular work hours or on BCC property. Sweet’s actions also allegedly created a hostile academic environment, according to Dr. Richey’s announcement, as well as unfairly imposing her personal political beliefs on the students.
The school interviewed many of her students in her five classes who apparently felt intimidated into signing the pledge cards because otherwise they felt their grade would suffer. Sweet also allegedly misrepresented the purpose of the pledge cards in that she alternately claimed that she was registering voters, that the pledge cards were non-partisan in nature, or that she conducting a statistical analysis using the pledge cards.
From the outside looking in, it’s not abundantly clear why a math class became politicized in the first place.
That being said, Sweet had a sweet deal going because she continued to collect a paycheck — as a result of tenure and union protections — while the investigation ran its “course.”
This morning, the board voted 3-1 to terminate her employment. “The termination took effect immediately, ending pay and benefits for Sweet who had been suspended with pay under provisions of the United Faculty of Florida collective bargaining agreement with the college, pending the board’s decision.” Sweet had been on the Brevard faculty for five years.
Although some of the information should be taken with a grain of salt, Sweet received generally lackluster student evaluations on RateMyProfessor.com.
Do you think the professor might be offered a job on MSNBC?